From a new article in EDUCAUSE Review by Kelly Miller, Associate Dean for Learning and Research Services at the University of Miami Libraries:
Designing library spaces and services that allow for open-ended dialogue, creative expression, and contemplative inquiry may support students seeking greater spaciousness of mind and being.
In higher education and libraries, openness—as a value—is actively promoted. In practice, this value is commonly interpreted as access itself: freedom from censorship, paywalls, and discrimination. Could it also be interpreted as intellectual spaciousness, as awareness itself?
Since 2015, I’ve been leading an effort at the University of Miami Libraries to develop a Learning Commons—a hub for academic services—in Richter Library. Located on the entry level, the space chosen for the Learning Commons was previously filled with compact shelving housing periodicals that were already digitized or no longer needed. The opportunity to reimagine this space has allowed us to begin fulfilling one of the students’ requests: provide more open space for people to study.